12 June 2013

The Ongoing Debate Between Power and Conscience, Secrecy and Its Abuses

"At its very inception this movement depended on the deception and betrayal of one's fellow man; even at that time it was inwardly corrupt and could support itself only by constant lies. After all, Hitler states in an early edition of 'his' book:  'It is unbelievable, to what extent one must betray a people in order to rule it.'

If at the start this cancerous growth in the nation was not particularly noticeable, it was only because there were still enough forces at work that operated for the good, so that it was kept under control.

As it grew larger, however, and finally in an ultimate spurt of growth attained ruling power, the tumor broke open, as it were, and infected the whole body.

The greater part of its former opponents went into hiding. The German intellectuals fled to their cellars, there, like plants struggling in the dark, away from light and sun, to gradually choke to death."

The White Rose
Second Leaflet
Munich, 1942

"We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was 'legal,' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary [in 1956] was 'illegal.'

Martin Luther King

"All frauds, like the wall daubed with untempered mortar, with which men think to buttress up an edifice, always tend to the decay of what they are devised to support."

Richard Whately

I do not claim to have any particular authority in this difficult area of policy and ethics, except to note that we learn from history that this is a debate that must happen, always. Power that becomes too concentrated, that is accustomed to operating in secret, is deadly to a free society.

Individual judgment can be a dangerous thing. The great variety of people can rationalize almost any action in their private mind, whether it be a principled stand for justice, or a destructive and unjust act of violence.

As always, there is danger in the extremes.

We have seen, over and over as groups or self-defining classes of people come to power, that they can tend to rationalize actions that in retrospect were clearly not in the public interest, but largely in their own, from making their tasks more effective to lining their pockets with funds and abusing power.

Transparency, debate, and freedom of speech are the necessary safeguards that our Constitution has ensured.  This has been one of the greatest and most effective innovations in political theory.

One of my greatest ongoing concerns is the secrecy and incestuous dealing between the government and the financial sector, bonded by enormous amounts of money and mutual power. I am convinced that this corruption is impairing the real economy for the indulgence of a privileged few, who have set themselves above the people, and above the law.

So I present this debate to provoke some additional thought on the subject.

One thing I will say is that the vilification of the messenger, in this case Snowden, by the mainstream media in the States has been disappointing, and at times, almost surreal.

But why does that surprise us?  We have seen the same thing occurring in numerous whistle blower cases, including the slurs and marginalization against those who have stood up to expose corruption and fraud in the markets, even by otherwise intelligent and well-meaning people.   That is a culture of conformity, the status quo, and the enabling of a power that will, in the end, serve only itself.

I promised you that this would be a time of 'revelations.'  And that process is not done, but continues.  My greatest concern is that given enough time and official messaging that people will come to accept almost anything, and come to thrive on the spectacles of misery.  That is the Hunger Games.